Players getting legal advice on anchor ban, says Tim Clark

Tim Clark
Getty Images
Tim Clark switched to a long putter in college because of a congenital problem with his arms.
By John Holmes
PGA.com

Series: Golf Buzz

PGA Tour player Tim Clark says "a fair number" of players, including him, are getting legal advice over the ban on anchored putting strokes.

"We do have legal counsel,” said Clark at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. "We're going to explore our options. We're not going to just roll over and accept this."

Clark didn’t specify who the other players seeking legal counsel were. But he said they were exploring their legal options and felt the comment period was "all smoke and mirrors."

R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson shared his concern that some players could file lawsuits when the R&A and USGA announced the anchor ban on Tuesday.

"I very much hope not," said Dawson. "I don't think lawsuits will be on particularly strong ground. We are not so sure of ourselves that you can always be sure you're going to be right, but we have certainly done our homework on this one, far more than anything else in my time at the R&A."

Clark, who won the 2010 Players Championship, considers his future in golf uncertain now that the anchoring ban is officially going forward. 

''Obviously, now I guess, our tactics have to change,'' Clark told the Associated Press. ''We obviously during that period tried to reason with the USGA and the R&A and come to some sort of a favorable decision for ourselves. We're just trying to come to a fair and just decision that obviously has a great affect a lot on our careers and futures in the game.''

The PGA Tour and PGA of America contend that the stroke commonly used for long putters wasn't hurting the game and there was no statistical proof that it was an advantage.

Clark, the 37-year-old South African who has five wins worldwide, changed from a conventional putter halfway through college because of a congenital problem with his arms that caused discomfort holding the short putter close to his body.

''There's been a lot of sleepless nights,'' Clark said. ''A year ago, my future in the game, I could see it. I planned to play until I physically no longer could play. Now it's a case of I've been told no, hang on, that might change. You're going to change the way you putt here in a few years' time and now my future is uncertain.''

Clark believes that his method of putting has been an option since the game was invented and that changing the rule now makes no sense.

For people who talk about anchored putting going against golf tradition, Clark counters, ''Well, why aren't we playing hickory shafts and a feathery golf ball and having a goat carry our golf bag? I mean, the game has evolved, every generation of players has involved.''

The Associated Press contributed to this post.

 

Comments

parlorsongster2

When the PGA Tour and PGA of America submitted their comments, they clearly stated that they fully acknowledge the right of the ruling bodies to MAKE the rules. Their objections were based on rule making by personal preference and opinion, rather than empirical evidence.

The USGA and R&A could and SHOULD have announced a "proposed" rule to go into effect in 2016, but ONLY after extensive research conducted by themselves AND the Tours. If it was determined that there definitely IS a competitive advantage, then the rule would go into full effect and players would have to adapt. If not, the rule would be rescinded.

That they were apparently unwilling to do any research at all represented simply thumbing their noses at the PGA Tour and the PGA of America. This is arrogance in the extreme and SHOULD be challenged.

The PGA Tour should announce their intention to do that research over the next 30 months and IF it is shown that there is NO competitive advantage, they intend to bifucate to protect their players. The players themselves will still have the option of switching should they so decide.

I am foresquare behind Tim Clark and the other players whose livelihood is being threatened simply based on the whims of the "elites".

aandbc

Well now--I disagree with Mr Dix.
Golf is not owned and no one has the right to declare itself God. Change is going to happen.
The PGA needs to continue as a group of players, earning a living, to govern theirownselves. If the USGA & R&A want to disallow and demand ownership of the game, they should realize that in changes it will affect them more than anyone and the Championships they direct. If the good of the game is their concern, why then are they telling people how they can play and with what. It has never worked in the past. I have never consulted them when our group does not adhere to the rulebook.
I have asked our group at our local course if they will pay any attention to the USGA or the R&A---the answer was quiet simply NO !
We might loose the Open. The US Open----maybe the Masters (for awhile) but other tournaments will take their place as Majors---look at the history of old Majors who have passed from the scene only to be replaced by a better product.
The governing bodies are just being silly and showing off. They will be at the loss with their behavior--not being the big bad boy on the block and I will still be watching a better and more exciting tournament when they are off having a pity party.
Let the game evolve and let me enjoy the competition from the best, doing their best.
This is all so silly, like, I will take my ball and go home.
Blessings

cdix

Play by the rules. The rest of us ( i.e. arthritic, handicapped, unskilled, etc.) Will be expected to abide by the new rules while the elite don' t? I know you tried to make your case but it is done. Continue to lobby with the usga regarding the rule as it would be good for all of us, but stop implying your members don't have the skill to adapt and play under the new rules.
If we are headed to a two-tier rules book, maybe we are the ones who need the help.